Hotel Spa and Ueda old town

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Don't drink and drive

First let me just say "Don't drink and drive!" no shock horror here, just a plain message in a fun style.

the hotel

The hotel

Waiting to goto the spa

Waiting to goto the spa

The kids are impatient

The kids are impatient

Austin escapes!

Austin escapes!

We went to a hotel spa in Komoro, it was much posher than the public spa but a lot smaller. Granda managed not to get lost or lose his clothes this time! For obvious reasons I didn’t take any photos there as we’re naked again 🙂 Afterwards we had lunch which was a Chinese banquet – very nice i especially liked the noodles. Not sure why I didn’t take photos of that, maybe just focusing on the food 🙂 Can’t be taking photos all the time.

This is ueda old town, it's much more cheerful that Komoro old town with lots of small craft shops.

This is ueda old town, it's much more cheerful that Komoro old town with lots of small craft shops.

Lovely old shops

Lovely old shops

Another Sake shop, this one has been going 300 years!

Another Sake shop, this one has been going 300 years!

This is a tea room

This is a tea room

it's very small inside, just room for one

it's very small inside, just room for one

These owls are a local symbol, we see them everywhere

These owls are a local symbol, we see them everywhere

dolls and sake, theres a pattern beginning to emerge

dolls and sake, theres a pattern beginning to emerge

more cute owls

more cute owls

This shop seems to specialise in old boxes and pieces of wood - how do they survive?

This shop seems to specialise in old boxes and pieces of wood - how do they survive?

They call it a town, but it's really just one street, still looks lovely

They call it a town, but it's really just one street, still looks lovely

Another owl, I told you they were everywhere

Another owl, I told you they were everywhere

Trees: on the roof!

Trees: on the roof!

A wood carving workshop

A wood carving workshop

bears?

bears?

Mainly carved blocks and stamps and cards, the bears outside were misleading

Mainly carved blocks and stamps and cards, the bears outside were misleading

Small shrine

Small shrine

Water feature

Water feature

Strange art

Strange art

More strange art

More strange art

this looks like a chinese terracotta warrior

this looks like a chinese terracotta warrior

traditional noodle shop

traditional noodle shop

Granda takes a well earned rest

Granda takes a well earned rest

another water feature, this one made the most beautiful sound

another water feature, this one made the most beautiful sound

the river goes straight thru ueda old town

the river goes straight thru ueda old town

Cotton plants

Cotton plants

Christian artifacts embeded in blocks of rock! No idea what it means.

Christian artifacts embeded in blocks of rock! No idea what it means.

anyone know why they are embeded into rock?

anyone know why they are embeded into rock?

The house that Shigeo built

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The house we stayed at Rie’s parents house was designed and built by Shigeo Saito, Rie’s Father. It’s got 2 main floors and a basement/workshop. There is a bedroom in the attic too so that is really 4 floors.

The house

The house

Nice quiet street

Nice quiet street

The house is located on a mountain and is accessible via a long windy road, must be interesting in the snow.

Granda just reminded me it’s 700 metres above sea level about 6 hairpin bends to get up there.

Saito house east side

Saito house east side

us on the balcony - click for bigger image

us on the balcony - click for bigger image

us on the balcony again

us on the balcony again (click for bigger view)

Local farms

Local farms

Austin on the move

Austin on the move

Austin testing out the quietness of the local roads

Austin testing out the quietness of the local roads

Live long and prosper

Live long and prosper

A beautiful fireplace and traditional flooring

A beautiful fireplace and traditional flooring

An open fire, lovely!

An open fire, lovely!

long chimney

long chimney

The main living room

The main living room

The opposite view facing the kitchen

The opposite view facing the kitchen

view from kitchen bar area

view from kitchen bar area

Main room balcony joins the 2 sides of the house together

Main room balcony joins the 2 sides of the house together

Lovely girl in lovely house

Lovely girl in lovely house 🙂

The style is really nice with exposed wood everywhere, the coreof the house is concrete and the wood is built on top of that, it’s a very sturdy structure, and warm and cosy.

omboo - piggy back

omboo - piggy back

These lanterns were made by Shigeo

These lanterns were made by Shigeo

Beautiful designs

Beautiful designs

A tree

A tree

Leaves

Leaves

The large living room light

The large living room light

The other side of the light

The other side of the light

The large living room light

The large living room light

Living room

Living room

This one is by the main door

This one is by the main door

Hanna the dog doesn't realise she has a pink feather stuck to her nose.

Hanna the dog doesn't realise she has a pink feather stuck to her nose.

First floor balcony has a lovely view

First floor balcony has a lovely view

Me, when I was an 18th century Japanese rice farmer, life was tough in those days!

Me, when I was an 18th century Japanese rice farmer, life was tough in those days!

Family values were important in those days

Family values were important in those days

Elizabeth when she was a 18th century Japanese rice farmer!

Elizabeth when she was a 18th century Japanese rice farmer!

Happy days.

Happy days.

Giant Wasp museum pt2

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The leaflet that sparked the whole adventure, actually also it was due to Rie's parents getting an infestation of Giant wasps a few months ago.

The leaflet that sparked the whole adventure, (click for larger version) Actually it was also due to Rie's parents getting an infestation of Giant wasps a few months ago.

You can read about the attack-of-the-giant-wasps here

As it’s winter all the live wasps are asleep 🙁 If you come in summer you can interact with the live wasps (whatever that means) That sounds like a different experience altogether. We did get a discount only 500yen instead of the 1000yen it would be in Summer.

A collection of wasps, the biggest 4cm+

A collection of wasps, the biggest 4cm+

A wasps nest

A wasps nest

Us in front of a load of wasps nests

Us in front of a load of wasps nests

These wasps build their nests anywhere

These wasps build their nests anywhere

See what I mean?

See what I mean?

This one has the side cut away to reveal an internal structure with several "floors"

This one has the side cut away to reveal an internal structure with several "floors"

Austin was nervous of these nests, can't blame him really

Austin was nervous of these nests, can't blame him really

They cultivate these nests by hanging these ornaments upside down and making a great place for the wasps to build their nests on

They cultivate these nests by hanging these ornaments upside down and making a great place for the wasps to build their nests on

Let me tell you about the bears and the bees! Alternative version.

Let me tell you about the bears and the bees! Alternative version.

Not everyone finds this stuff interesting.

Not everyone finds this stuff interesting.

The wasp protection suit

The wasp protection suit

Lots of these good luck cats

Lots of these good luck cats

Not even Budda escapes.

Not even Budda escapes.

This is the main wasp guy, he loves them you can tell.

This is the main wasp guy, he loves them you can tell.

Its the honeycomb middle that weighs so little

Its the honeycomb middle that weighs so little

The nest has hit the fan now

The nest has hit the fan now

This will take 4 photos to show

This will take 4 photos to show

Can you guess what it is yet?

Can you guess what it is yet?

You must know by now

You must know by now

It's a bullet train nest

It's a bullet train nest

These ones are big

These ones are big

This ones a record breaker, goes over 2 floors

This ones a record breaker, goes over 2 floors

Leading to a whole new vast room of even more nests!

Leading to a whole new vast room of even more nests!

I'm only using about a 1/3 of the photos I took here as there are sooo many nests and so little time. (they are getting a bit samey to be honest)

I'm only using about a 1/3 of the photos I took here as there are sooo many nests and so little time. (they are getting a bit samey to be honest)

Heres one of the volcano, a local obsession.

Heres one of the volcano, a local obsession.

Not sure what this is about, I don't understand how they manipulate the wasps into doing these custom designs for them.

Not sure what this is about, I don't understand how they manipulate the wasps into doing these custom designs for them.

That is my favourite so far, if I was them I'd have this one out front.

That is my favourite so far, if I was them I'd have this one out front.

A huge slab of a nest.

A huge slab of a nest.

The nests seem to go on for miles.

The nests seem to go on for miles.

This one just seems wrong somehow.

This one just seems wrong somehow.

Dear me

Dear me

This one has a hat on, I really hope there isn't a human under that.

This one has a hat on, I really hope there isn't a human under that.

not sure what these are

not sure what these are

Not sure what to say

Not sure what to say

We are all wasps when it comes down to it.

We are all wasps when it comes down to it.

And so it's time to go. We've learned a lot.

And so it's time to go. We've learned a lot.

But still there are many questions unanswered

But still there are many questions unanswered

Giant Wasp museum pt1

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The giant wasp museum - Warning this is seriously weird!!!!

The giant wasp museum - Warning this is seriously weird!!!!

Nice wasp sculpture

Nice wasp sculpture

a dinosaur made out of tyres... not a good start.

A dinosaur made out of tyres... not a good start.

And another 2 tyre made dinosaurs!

And another 2 tyre made dinosaurs!

Theres scarier things than vampires out tonight!

Theres scarier things than vampires out tonight!

Welcome to the giant wasp museum

Welcome to the giant wasp museum

We went through the door and were welcomed by the lady that runs the place, we took off our shoes and put on the slippers provided and entered the world of the giant wasp… tune in tomorrow and find out the surprising truth!

Komoro old town

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We start the day with Setsubun, as it’s 3rd Feb. Setsubun is the festival to get rid of demons and therefore bring good luck. They have big celebrations at shrines and temples all around Japan in Kyoto they take have a big event

I play the part of a demon and the kids throw soya beans at me!

I play the part of a demon and the kids throw soya beans at me!

They have me cornered, this ritual scares the demons away and brings good luck

They have me cornered, this ritual scares the demons away and brings good luck

Kids seem more interested in eating them then throwing them, the mask come free with the soya beans/nuts, they are really tasty

Kids seem more interested in eating them then throwing them, the mask come free with the soya beans/nuts, they are really tasty

Ok and so to Komoro…

Komoro old town

We arrive at Komoro old town

A quick photo op for Brandon and Elizabeth

A quick photo op for Brandon and Elizabeth

What a lovely toilet, I particularly like the male/female signs

What a lovely toilet, I particularly like the male/female signs

I love these small bridges, they are everywhere

I love these small bridges, they are everywhere

A wishing tree

A wishing tree

a pond full of koi

a pond full of koi

The Komoro old town Shrine

The Komoro old town Shrine

a monument reminds me of the one in bedlington, Northumberland

a monument reminds me of the one in bedlington, Northumberland

Here is a picture of Market place, Bedlington, thanks to Bedlington pictures for the pic you might want to visit their blog at http://bedlingtondogs.blogspot.com/

Here is a picture of Market place, Bedlington, thanks to "Bedlington pictures" for the pic you might want to visit their blog at http://bedlingtondogs.blogspot.com/

The police station, doesn't look like it gets much action around here

The police station, doesn't look like it gets much action around here

A very quiet street

A very quiet street

It’s a bit spooky, theres no one around but us, very unusual for England let alone Japan.

Very traditional architecture

Very traditional architecture

The community hall, the kids head for a slide they spotted

The community hall, the kids head for a slide they spotted

These houses are a lot older than the rest of Komoro

These houses are a lot older than the rest of Komoro

Appart from us the place was diserted

Apart from us the place was diserted

I love the water feature with little bridges

I love the water feature with little bridges